Stocks Opened Higher after Jobless Claims Data

U.S. stocks opened modestly higher on Thursday after the news showed that applications for US unemployment aid fell to 5-month low. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately added 83.04 points, or 0.49%, to 17,083.40. The S&P 500 gained 14.20 points, or

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid fell last week to the lowest level since October, evidence that employers are confident enough in the economy to hold onto their staffs. Weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 259,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped 2,500 to 267,500, the lowest reading since the week of Oct. 31.

The European Central Bank on Thursday cut its key lending rate to zero, pushed its deposit rate further into negative territory and significantly expanded the size and scope of its asset-buying program.The ECB also said it would launch a new series of longer-term refinancing operations with maturities of four years.

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